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Complement in Pregnancy: A Delicate Balance

Authors

  • Kerina J. Denny,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
    • School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
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  • Trent M. Woodruff,

    1. School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
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  • Stephen M. Taylor,

    1. School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
    2. School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
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  • Leonie K. Callaway

    1. School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
    2. Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
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Correspondence

Kerina Denny, School of Biomedical Science, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

E-mail: k.denny@uq.edu.au

Abstract

The complement system is a key component of innate host defence that, under normal conditions, is responsible for the opsonization and destruction of potential pathogens. However, inappropriate or excessive activation of complement can have a detrimental effect on the host and has been implicated in the pathophysiology of numerous disease states. Recently, there has been increasing evidence for a role of the complement system and, in particular, the potent pro-inflammatory anaphylatoxin complement component 5a (C5a) in both normal and complicated pregnancy. The following review describes the results of in vitro, animal, and human clinical studies investigating the role of the complement system in healthy pregnancy, recurrent miscarriage, preterm birth, and preeclampsia.

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